August 25, 2009

Fear of Change

Yesterday, I attended the AICC lunch panel discussion regarding the Emissions Trading Scheme and the move to a low carbon economy. In response to panel members' call for certainty, I asked whether this was achievable and whether instead we should look for consensus.

This was not well-received.

I had the experience of being publicly chastised as they reinforced business' demand for certainty. The heat of their response really spoke to a fundamental discomfort people have about change, and the drive to certainty to combat fears of the unknown.

But, the question still remains. In a highly complex situation with so many variables and wild cards, how can we create certainty? Take a moment for Paul Gilding's view on ABC Radio.

Given our attachment to certainty, how are we going to deal with the potential climate changes that even the experts say are unpredictable? If we can't change the circumstances, what can we do about our relationship to change?

I realise I am turning away from the panel member's original intent with regards to regulations and laws. But the idea of certainty and human being's attachment to it still applies.

most people are uncomfortable with change. Some are so frightened of change they perpetuate a toxic situation, behaviour or relationship for fear of the unknown. They are blind to their fear and the impact it has on their ability to make the right decisions.

Fear of change stifles business ingenuity. Fear of change blunts any leaders' ability to successfully implement necessary improvements to their business. Remember, culture eats strategy for lunch.

Human beings are extraordinary. Our capacity for innovative thinking and ingenuity is virtually limitless -
as long as we can be with change.

ow do we effectively deal with fear of change?

Distinguish the actual fear. Not the generalised experience of discomfort, but get to the specifics beneath it all. What is it exactly that you are upset about? Notice your concerns are really based on something that happened in the past which you've mapped onto the future.

Then, find the benefits of change. Keep listing benefits until they outweigh the fears. List at least 30 benefits. Tip the balance and you'll find the fear dissolves away.

Knowledge brings clarity. Clarity brings power. Power brings freedom. Freedom allows for innovation, creativity and solutions.

Our environment is changing fast and we must continue to find creative solutions to keep up with these changes. We no longer have the luxury to dwell on our fears. They're all behind you anyway.

August 10, 2009

Giving Your All

This weekend, a combination of important conversations; a powerful, inspiring blog by Laura Munson; a hauntingly beautiful movie (I've Loved You For So Long); a funny episode of Top Chef Masters (children critiquing master chefs) all resulted in my waking up this morning to the following questions.

Where, when and how do I hold back?

What does it take to give it my all?

Whether at work, play, with family, friends or colleagues, we all hold something back. Some communication, expression of love, admiration or appreciation, a note of acknowledgment. We hold back on giving a moment of our time, we wait until the "right" moment that somehow never comes.

We hold back on taking actions we know we want or need to take. We play it safe, give up some fun for fear of getting hurt.

Usually it's too subtle to notice until something or someone happens in sharp contrast. We wake for a moment, make some adjustments, and go back to sleep.

No big deal. Really, it's fine. You could live your whole life this way and never notice.

But, in the world of Peak Performance and Breakthrough Results, fine isn't good enough.

Breakthroughs require risks. Big risks. Holding back keeps you, your people, your company from achieving in all the hard and soft areas EVERYONE wants to impact. Leadership, partnership, teamwork, sales, marketing, relationships, revenue, satisfaction, engagement, productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, critical KPI's. Want the results? Take the risk.

Giving your all is about being out there on the skinny branches. It requires setting goals that send shivers down your spine (not just us girls) and makes you wonder if you're up to the task. Giving your all is about worrying whether the risk is too great and realising enormous gains beyond expectations when you jump.

Giving your all means occasional failures. Then getting back into the game after a good learning moment. A wise woman said "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."

Giving your all mean holding NOTHING back. It means putting your mind, body, heart and soul into something. Without safety net or wires, but sometimes with a helping hand or two.

Try it for a day. If you're brave, try a week. Make it a habit to give your all to this moment, then move to the next, the next and so on.

Leave nothing for the wolves.

Not sure what I mean? Go watch 7-year olds play. Then find your own game and follow their lead.

August 7, 2009

The Magic of The Perfect Team

We recently saw the Sydney Theatre Production of "Poor Boy", about two families dealing with tragedy. Although there were some gaps in the writing, we thoroughly enjoyed the play.

It wasn't until the curtain call that the source of our enjoyment presented itself. The actors were having a great time together. I never thought actors would enjoy playing angst-ridden dramas, but this team really had a blast. they looked after each other, particularly the seven year old star, played off each other brilliantly and created an event with the audience that reached into our hearts, minds and souls.

Witness the magic of a perfect team of aligned inspirational players. when the vision, game and plan come together inside the context of a common dream, people give their all and leave behind the negative conversations that often derail the best-laid plans.

While often referred to as a "soft" issue, culture has more of a hard impact on an organisation's ability to achieve than any meticulously planned strategy. Culture enables plans to proceed with ease and grace, or die fast.

Since culture exists in our blind spots, how do we "see" it?

* Get a reality check on the successful implementation of initiatives to the fullest extent. Are you achieving everything you said you would?

* Check out employee satisfaction. Who looks forward to Monday? (Did you laugh at this question?)

* Gauge the level of individual employee ownership of the total business results. Whose business is this - yours or theirs?

Happy, aligned, and inspired people get things done, come up with innovative ideas and naturally look out for the best interests in the company.

How’s it tracking at your place?